This Is Where We Talk Things Out by Caitlin Marceau
Dark Lit Press (July 2023)
114 pages; $16 paperback
Reviewed by Janelle Janson
When I first picked up Caitlin Marceau’s novella This is Where We Talk Things Out, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I’ve never read her work before, but I’ve always heard good things. But as soon as I started, I could not put it down. It immediately demands your attention.
The story revolves around Miller and her partner, Florence, engrossed in a crucial conversation. Miller is estranged from her mother Sylvie, and Florence is desperately trying to dissuade her from something. In an attempt to reconnect, Miller reluctantly agrees to embark on a weekend getaway with her mother. Early on, it becomes evident that their relationship is tumultuous, but the true extent of its complexity only unfolds as the narrative progresses. There are several red flags from the outset, such as Sylvie’s incessant flooding of Miller’s social media with messages and her harassment at work. Despite this, Miller decides to give their relationship one last chance by going on the vacation with her mother.
The story instantly immerses readers in a claustrophobic and anxiety-inducing atmosphere. A lingering storm, practically a whiteout, provides an apt metaphor for the turbulent emotions that surround the characters. Marceau skillfully crafts layers of depth to the relationship, gradually revealing snippets of their past, until the situation spirals into chaos.
Overall, the novella showcases Marceau’s talent for exploring complex relationships and delving into the depths of human emotions. Her storytelling prowess shines as she weaves a narrative that grips the reader from beginning to end, leaving an indelible impact long after the final page is turned.